The Government’s new Industrial Strategy – what you need to know

Dave Neilson 21 January 2018

In November the Government launched a whitepaper as part of its plans to prepare the UK economy for life after the European Union. The Industrial Strategy aims to boost the economy, improve productivity and embrace new technologies to make the UK the world’s most innovative economy.

The Industrial Strategy and the construction industry

The construction industry employs 3.1 million people and is one of the largest sectors in the economy with a turnover of £370bn. Fusion21 is committed to tackling issues affecting the sector such as unemployment and the skills shortage. The Industrial Strategy is designed to address these and other issues.

Some key areas covered by the strategy regarding construction and procurement are listed below:

  • The Strategy outlines plans to create a new National Retraining Scheme starting next year. The scheme will support people to reskill and begins with a £64m investment for digital and construction training.
  • The Government has pledged to provide £34m to expand innovative construction training programmes across the country.
  • There will be increased focus on off-site construction techniques  and modular build. The Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme aims to improve productivity by using government spending to help drive the adoption of modern methods of construction. This builds on the commitment made by five government departments to adopt in favour of offsite construction by 2019 across suitable capital programmes where this represents best value for money. The commitment combines government and industry to facilitate the implementation of the Construction Sector Deal, including £170m of investment through the Industrial Strategy programme, Transforming Construction, to support innovation and skills in the sector.
  • The construction sector with support from the government will work closely to drive increased investment in skills development while adopting a more strategic and co-ordinated approach to recruitment. Workers will be equipped with the skills they‘ll need for the future. This will help tackle the skills shortage in the construction industry and will be achieved through a joint commitment to implement reforms to the Construction Industry Training Board - making it more strategic and industry led, while enabling the sector to make best use of funding from the Apprenticeship Levy.

The Industrial Strategy and public procurement

The UK spends 14 % of GDP on public sector procurement,  and the public sector spends around £270bn a year on goods, works and services.

The strategy outlines plans to use public procurement as an important source of finance for innovative businesses, stating: “The essential role played by infrastructure means our investment decisions can have a transformational effect on places businesses and society. We will maximise the contribution that such investment can make to growth and productivity by strengthening considerations of broad strategic outcomes at the earliest stage of policy… and then carrying them through all subsequent parts of the design and procurement process.”

The government also wants to improve procurement standards by extending the Commercial Capability Development Programme; a scheme to improve commercial skills in the public sector  to  arm’s length bodies. 

For more information on the industrial strategy click here  or to find out how we are helping to tackle unemployment and the skills shortage in the construction industry, read our Community Regeneration Services  brochure or call us on 0845 308 2321.